Critical Listening: A Key to Success in Managerial Communications
“The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, and clear communication is necessary to management success”. –James Cash Penney
Listening is a skill that is critical for not only subordinates to master, but managers as well. Often times, we overlook the difference between listening and hearing. Listening requires much more effort than hearing. While hearing enables us to observe sounds, it does not delve into the message behind words when they are spoken, as listening does because it takes place on not only a physical, but psychological level. (Hynes, 2011)
Listening has many benefits. First, the ...view middle of the document...
Effectively listening is a way of showing concern for subordinates, and this creates somewhat of a bond, and ultimately leads to trust (Williams). And that is vital. I am certain there is a smaller number of people who would choose to push themselves to succeed while working for a manager they cannot trust, versus a manager they can.
Listening, however, does have obstacles, or barriers that need to be avoided to achieve successful message receipt. According to Hynes, (Hynes, 2011) speaking is one of the greatest barriers to listening. We have a tendency to listen not for a message, but for stoppages in our other party’s speaking so that we may being talking. This is not an effective way to retain the message of the sender. One way to avoid this is to increase your attention to everything the sender is saying, then process it, and then respond with a well thought out reply. Interrupting someone while they are trying to convey a message is almost always unacceptable.
Some other barriers to listening (Hynes, 2011) are motivation (or lack, thereof). Daydreaming, multi tasking, and focus on alternative topics can kill the motivation a manager may have to listen. Related to this is another barrier: willingness to listen. This can even occur prior to the conversation. Willingness may potentially be the greatest challenge to effectively understanding and hearing what someone is trying to communicate. A good .way to avoid being in this type of situation is to practice listening skills at all times. All people will sometimes daydream, but focus skills should be possessed by all successful managers.
Internal noise is something we all must deal with from time to time. This could be anything ranging from a headache, hunger, soreness, or even emotional stress. Although this is a common issue for all people, it tends to get in the way of receiving the message at hand. It is critical to be in the right state of mind when attempting to successfully listen. Critical information can go unnoticed if the receiver is thinking about why their feet hurt, what time lunch might be arriving, or any other unrelated issue affecting them on a physical level. Somewhat related to that is external noise, which could be something like the sender’s voice is hard to understand, or they have characteristics which are distracting you from getting the point of the message. This barrier can also be avoided by proper focus technique. Staying in the right frame of mind during sessions where listening is critical is a great way to absorb and process the message being sent, and retain necessary information.
There are times when a listener may not be in agreement with what the sender is conveying, and this is called debate. This makes listening virtually impossible because before the message has even been completely sent, the listener could be already thinking of how they will reply; a rebuttal, if you will. This can result in...